SUPPORT for independence has fallen in the past three months, according to a new poll which shows Yes on 42%.

The new research, published by Redfield and Wilton Strategies, put No nine points ahead with "don't know" at 8%. 

Once "don't knows" were excluded, the poll showed the same totals as the 2014 referendum, with Yes on 45% against 55% for No.

Meanwhile for General Election voting intention the SNP were on 39% (-2), Labour were down two points on 29%, Tories were up six points on 22% and the LibDems were down two points as well at 6%.

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The survey will be disappointing reading for Labour, who may have hoped to have better capitalised on SNP infighting. Some 52% of those polled said Keir Starmer's premiership made no difference to their position on independence. 

A large majority of voters said Nicola Sturgeon’s resignation had not affected how they would vote at the next General Election.

Among all respondents, 62% said their voting intentions were “unaffected” by the First Minister’s departure.

But the poll suggested 2023 had not been kind to the FM - with her overall approval rating at just 2% - down 14 points on the November figure. 

Among SNP voters her approval rating had fallen by around 20 points to 48%.

Around 19% of SNP voters said they were more likely to back the party and 16% said they were less likely.

Over the last couple of years, independence support has generally been on a knife-edge.

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Opposition to an independence referendum within the next year has also risen - with 49% of voters saying they were against or strongly against a referendum, a rise on 43% saying the same three months ago. 

Voters' expectations on the result of an independence poll have also changed dramatically, according to the research. 

When asked at the end of November how they expected indyref2 to pan out, 43% of voters said they thought Yes would win. By the beginning of March 2023, this had fallen to just 30% with 49% saying they would expect a victory for the Union. 

The research also focused on the ongoing SNP leadership debate, asking Scots who they would most like to see take over from Sturgeon. 

Kate Forbes performed better among all Scots, with 25% saying she would make the best first minister, compared with 18% for Humza Yousaf and 14% for Ash Regan. Some 44% of voters said they did not know. 

But among SNP voters, Yousaf came out on top with 27% preferring him over his rivals, while 21% backed Forbes and 13% backed Regan.

Polling was carried out between March 2 to 5 and saw 1050 people over the age of 16 polled.